Kashmir,Indian border,cross-border firing,Jammu

KABUL: Three US soldiers were killed on Monday while fighting insurgents in volatile southern Afghanistan, Nato said.

Nato’s International Security Assistance Force gave few details, saying only: “Three Isaf service members from the United States were killed this afternoon in an engagement with enemy forces in southern Afghanistan.”

Southern Afghanistan is at the heart of a Taliban-led insurgency now in its ninth year.

The latest deaths take to 12 the number of foreign soldiers killed in Afghanistan this year, according to an AFP tally based on that kept by the independent website icasualties.org.

Last year was the deadliest since the insurgency began, with 520 foreign soldiers dying in Afghanistan, compared to 295 in 2008.

Of the 2009 casualties, 317 were US nationals while the rest were from more than 40 other nations in the coalition fighting the Taliban under US and Nato command.

The United States and its allies invaded Afghanistan in late 2001 to capture Al-Qaeda leaders whom Washington said were responsible for the 9-11 attacks on US cities, and Taliban commanders who sheltered the militant network.

The insurgency, launched by remnants of the Taliban regime months after their ouster, has gained pace, and the United States and Nato are set to deploy another 40,000 troops during this year, on top of the current 113,000.

The insurgency is largely concentrated in southern and eastern Afghanistan but is expanding to the previously calm north and west of the country.

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